From MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
An inept offensive performance and a defense that lost the mojo it had built over the last month combined to sink what’s left of the Chiefs 2011 season.
It all died in the swamps of Jersey, as the New York Jets hung a 37-10 beating on the Chiefs in front of a paid attendance of 79,088.
This game was not as close as the score indicates. Give Todd Haley’s team credit for never quitting and playing until the clock struck 00:00. But that’s the least they could have done to earn their paycheck which they stole with a brutal first half performance on both sides of the ball.
The Jets held a 28-3 half-time lead after grinding for 253 offensive yards, in just 40 plays, with four touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Chiefs had just 4 yards in total offense on 21 plays. Other than a first quarter 53-yard field goal from Ryan Succop, they never got out of their own territory on the six other possessions
“When you can’t get a first down and you’re having trouble keeping the other team from getting first downs, it’s not going to be a good half,” Haley said after the game.
“I take my hat off to the New York Jets. They were more prepared and just played better, period.”
The Chiefs are now 5-8 and the math does not point to a future beyond the New Year’s Day game against Denver. The victory left the Jets 8-5 and still in the thick of the race for a wildcard spot in the AFC playoffs.
“I thought our team played well,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “I feel great about our offense. The yards weren’t great, but we were five-for-five in the money zone. I thought the defensive was impressive.
“I guess it would be our best game so far this year.”
The game did not begin well for the Jets. Before they could snap the ball on the first offensive play of the game, they were forced to call a timeout because of confusion in the huddle. For a team that’s been heavily criticized for offensive miscues and problems, it brought a shower of boos out of the MetLife Stadium stands before even 30 seconds had rolled off the clock.
“That wasn’t great,” Ryan said. “That’s not going to go on my coaching resume. It was just a miscommunication on personnel.”
But the Jets offense made up for that when the first play was a 31-yard run by Greene where he broke at least two Chiefs tackles. Ultimately, it was an 11-play, 77-yard drive where they converted a pair of third downs, one thanks to a penalty against Chiefs CB Javier Arenas for defensive holding.
The score came on 1st-and-goal at the 1, when Sanchez rolled out to his left after faking a handoff and ran untouched into the end zone, completely fooling OLB Andy Studebaker who had containment on that side of the defense. The PAT kick by Nick Folk gave the Jets a 7-0 lead they never relinquished.
Before the first half was over, the Jets would add three more touchdowns as the Kansas City defense could not stop the RB duo of Greene and veteran “pain in the Chiefs butt” LaDainian Tomlinson. Plus, Jets QB Mark Sanchez had a very good first half. Sanchez helped put the second New York TD on the scoreboard throwing a bullet to WR Santonio Holmes for a 4-yard scoring pass early in the second quarter.
They capped a 9-play drive with a 7-yard touchdown run by Greene, where he ran through an arm-tackle attempt by CB Brandon Carr and then ran over FS Kendrick Lewis into the end zone. The PAT made it 21-3.
And before the half ended, Tomlinson scored on a 19-yard screen pass on a possession set up in good field position by a nice punt return by Jets WR Jeremy Kerley.
By intermission, the Jets had 253 offensive yards, compared to 4 yards for the Chiefs, who were 0-for-6 on third down conversions and had minus-15 yards in net passing. It was as ugly a half of offense as the Chiefs have played in some time.
In the third quarter, the Chiefs were finally able to move the ball a little bit, but they were unable to get close enough to score or even stay on the field. They turned the ball over three times in the period on punts.
The Jets meanwhile added another touchdown, this time with Sanchez scoring from 3 yards out. The PAT kick made the score 35-3 at the end of a 6-play, 90-yard drive.
In the fourth quarter, the Chiefs lost their cool and also finally reached the end zone. Both Haley and RB Le’Ron McClain were hit with unsportsmanlike conduct calls for their words screamed at the officials. But Palko took them on a 10-play, 65-yard drive, finishing up with a 24-yard touchdown throw to WR Jerheme Urban.
New York added two points for a safety when RB Jackie Battle was tackled in the end zone on a 1st-and-10 play from the Chiefs 1-yard line. That set the final score at 37-10.
Positives in this game were few and far between for Haley and his team. They are now 5-8 on the season, with the unbeaten Green Bay Packers coming to Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday. Then it’s Oakland on Christmas Eve and at Denver on New Year’s Day.
So where do the Chiefs sit now, other than at 5-8 and sitting at the bottom of the AFC West?
“We have to figure out a way to make some progress here,” Haley said. “It’s been the same thing all year; we’ve just been very inconsistent. This game was a microcosm of the entire season.”